ANAHEIM (AP) — Mike Trout delivered the tying single and Shohei Ohtani scored the go-ahead run on Albert Pujols’ groundout in the eighth inning, leading the Los Angeles Angels’ rally to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.
Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates with teammates his score from the hits an RBI single from Justin Upton #10 against the Chicago White Sox during the fourth inning on Opening Day at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 01, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Max Stassi homered and Justin Upton had an RBI single in the Angels’ first opening day at home since 2016. The Halos’ late surge for two unearned runs spoiled the second debut of White Sox manager Tony La Russa.
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Adam Eaton hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in his first game back with the White Sox.
Trout and Pujols came up big before 13,207 loud fans at Angel Stadium, the biggest sports crowd in the Los Angeles metroplex since the start of the pandemic.
David Fletcher opened the eighth by beating out an infield single off the glove of reliever Aaron Bummer (0-1). Second baseman Nick Madrigal then made a throwing error on a hard-hit grounder from Ohtani, and Fletcher took third on a passed ball before Trout smacked a single to left.
Upton drew an 11-pitch walk to load the bases for Pujols, whose high-bouncing groundout easily scored Ohtani. Pujols’ RBI was the 16th of his career on opening day, the most among active players.
Mike Mayers (1-0) pitched the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias needed just eight pitches in the ninth to earn the save in his Angels debut.
Lucas Giolito retired the Angels’ first 11 batters and pitched two-hit ball into the sixth inning for Chicago. The Southern California native baffled the Angels’ lineup his first time through, striking out six of nine largely with his changeup.
Dylan Bundy yielded six hits and three runs with six strikeouts over six innings in his first opening day start for the Angels.
White Sox: OF Adam Engel went on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring, and LHP Jace Fry was placed on the 10-day IL to recover from a microdiscectomy.
Angels: Ohtani’s potential blister on his throwing hand shouldn’t affect his ability to pitch Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said.
The 76-year-old La Russa is back in Chicago’s dugout 34 years after he was fired and nine years after he last managed in the majors with Pujols and the Cardinals. La Russa was a special adviser to the Angels’ front office last season.
La Russa’s first significant strategy decision of the season perhaps showed a willingness to change with the times: He pulled Giolito after 87 pitches in the sixth inning so he wouldn’t face Trout a third time.
Pujols went 0 for 4 with one huge RBI in the 21st opening day start of his career. The 41-year-old Pujols matched Eddie Murray and Al Kaline for the second-most opening day starts in baseball history, trailing only Pete Rose’s 23.
Dallas Keuchel looks to extend his career-long mastery over the Angels when he takes the mound against Andrew Heaney. Keuchel is 12-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 18 appearances against Los Angeles.
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